The Governments new Careers Strategy appears to be almost ready for publication. It wont appear before the EU Referendum but conceivably it could appear between the Referendum and the Summer Recess in late July. Alternatively it could be released over the summer.
The Government is clear that it wants much more employer engagement with schools, along with enterprise advisers and co-ordinators in the regions and better work experience. What it is less clear about , is how to generate more systematic and meaningful contacts between qualified, independent careers advisers and young people. It keeps on strengthening statutory guidance for schools but this has had little impact on the way ‘autonomous’ schools deliver careers advice, which remains unacceptably patchy, both in terms of quality and scope. Guidance only has any impact if there is a robust and transparent accountability framework. And this doesnt currently exist. Destination measures may help longer term but are still in the design phase and are not helping young people going through the system now. Ofsted makes the right noises on careers guidance and is pretty scathing about how so many schools fail to step up to the plate, but you can still get an outstanding rating with poorly rated careers provision and the light touch regime means that many schools escape the regulators eye for many years .
There are subtle signs that MPs from all parties are beginning to lose patience with a lack of action from Ministers in this area and will be looking at the new strategy very carefully . They may understand that if you want to improve social mobility, inclusion and productivity and to fill the skills gaps it is vital to improve the access our young people have to high quality professional advice at key stages in their lives, along with greater employer engagement ,of course .It is not either, or, it is both. They are mutually supporting. If they stick to ensuring the strategy is informed by all the Gatsby’ benchmarks’ then they should be OK. If they cherry pick, including some, but not others, it will end up an incoherent mess with no system wide impact. Watch this space.